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Modernization naturally has come with its pros and cons. There are availed and advantageous opportunities we or our differently concerned brothers and sisters enjoy for a better life, a better work environment or housing opportunities. For example gone are the days where an individual with a disability could not work, drive, live comfortably even if their minds could operate to full capacity; whereas today being in a wheelchair does not sentence you to staying home as it was in the past. Architectural standards are more inclusive when they bring up residential or business properties, car manufacturers have gotten more elaborate with their creations for those that can afford it and the list is endless. As is every witty invention, it has also opened a door for the craftiness of the enemy to pervert these efforts of being mindful of the least advantaged. It has taken up different shapes or forms especially in western countries where the very inclusion which is otherwise a noble cause, has widely opened doors to his subtlety and cunningness.

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. Deuteronomy 18:9-14NKJV

Diversity and inclusion are interconnected but not interchangeable concepts. In a work setting for example, the latter consists of ensuring that every individual’s input, presence or thoughts are valued and integrated in decision making while the former is to ensure representation is considered as part of this given entity. We have witnessed how instrumental both have been in every sphere of life. In the past, some individuals would be refused admission to school because of their race or color, others would be refused employment due to their disability or ethnicity while others would not be considered for promotions regardless of hard work due to their gender or social status and so on. This still exists in some parts of the world but thanks to the radical decisions of certain leaders and organizations to eradicate that, it may not be as rampant or outspoken as before.

Naturally, where truth is being established, the kingdom of darkness will also look to intrude or even attempt to counter this establishment disguising itself as light (2 Corinthians 11:14). In our theme scripture, God is giving instructions to the children of Israel on how they are to conduct their dealings and carry themselves in the land He was about to give them. As people who are set apart for God, He instructs the Israelites to be mindful of and warns them against participating in the occult practices and different things they will encounter on the streets. Many of the things we read in these instructional books in the Old Testament could be considered rather ancient. A diligent student of the Word however, would be able to observe the world we live in today and would be able to recognise a similar pattern in how people carry out their lives.

The occult practices were an abomination a few years back and people did not dare do it openly whereas today, even believers ignorantly take part in it because of lacking the diligence and wisdom to prove all things and judge in a balanced manner. Divination and soothsaying are plainly encouraged by whoever has a platform. This can be seen through the various forms of yoga, meditations, or you may hear things like tapping into different ‘energies’, finding yourself and an unhealthy exaggeration of ‘loving self’ which always results in idolatry and increased insecurity.

The interpretations of omens are equally present in our midst whereby superstitions are valued above the truth that sets free (John 8:32) and in an effort to be inclusive and guard the numbers, even churches have failed to speak on these things by fear of offending the congregation. We, however, cannot teach, reprove, correct and instruct men in righteousness and sound doctrine if we cannot speak truth at any cost due to fear of causing offense (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4). The same and only God who created these very individuals, knows their hearts, searches them and is able to water the seed you plant as a teacher and cause them to return as it is for their good (Phillipians 2:13). Abandoning the thoughts of self and allowing Him to deal with your heart to immunize you against all praise and offense is the part you need as a minister which is established through prayer in your secret place.

One ancient minister of the Gospel who is responsible of the Great Awakening movement once said:

My experience has been, that even in respect to personal popularity, “honesty is the best policy” in a minister; that if he means to maintain his hold upon the confidence, and respect, and affection of any people, he must be faithful to their souls. He must let them see that he is not courting them for any purpose of popularity, but that he is trying to save their souls. Men are not fools. They have no solid respect for a man that will go into the pulpit and preach smooth things.They cordially despise it in their inmost souls. And let no man think that he will gain permanent respect, that he will be permanently honored by his people, unless as an ambassador of Christ he deals faithfully with their souls.

I have often spoken about the divinely implanted search for purpose God has placed in the heart of every man (Ecclesiastes 3:11), whether they acknowledge Him or not. This divine purpose is seeking for truth (John 8:32)and without any doubt in my heart, I have come to be persuaded that this is the very reason men keep respect for one who does not speak smooth things for their perilous pleasure. It is equally important to keep in mind that regarding your safety, popularity or affections from the people as opposed to dealing with the sin that ensnares, is an epic fail on you as a minister (2 Timothy 2:4) and an insult to all those who went before us and suffered all kinds of things to establish this truth we stand on (Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 12:4).

Finally, beware that in including the noble causes that take account of all the saints, you do not include those that shame the Gospel alongside it (Romans 1:18-32). Speak the truth and count not the cost, feel after God (Acts 17:27) and let no parallel desire drive you into the fear of man, causing you to deal unfaithfully with those entrusted to you (Proverbs 29:25).

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”

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